UNRPD draws up plans to install new security system

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Brooke Germain / Nevada mugwort
An illustration of a security camera. According to Chief James, some of the cameras on campus are over 20 years old.

Eric James, the new police chief of the University of Nevada, Reno Police Department, is making plans to install new security camera technology around campus due to their outdated status.

The current software used for the cameras is about 20 years old and is unreliable for security reasons. There are several different systems used like Panasonic and NewVision.

“The new buildings on campus are good quality cameras like the Knowledge Center, Joe Crowley Student Union, Pennington Student Achievement, but the older cameras are not good,” James said. “Some of them will be disconnected without notice or overheating.”

Part of the problem with existing cameras is the lack of connectivity between them all. The UNRPD does not have constant access to the camera system as a whole, unlike departments at university facilities.

“We monitor and maintain them,” said Mike Averett, senior manager of campus maintenance services. “We don’t look at the pictures. If there is an incident on campus, we will help find the footage, but it is not actively monitored, it is in the hands of the UNRPD.

According to Averett, the cameras are replaced when they fail. Each camera is examined weekly to see if it is actively working, although there is no replacement schedule.

“When the cameras were designed and installed, it wasn’t about security, it was about perimeter security,” James said. “As we look to keep this in place, the cameras that monitor the fields of view, we can look to replace them.”

According to James, the older buildings on the south side of campus would have the most outdated security systems. These buildings include the Mack Social Sciences, Laxalt Mineral Engineering and Research Buildings, and the Fleischmann Agriculture Building.

“Clarity seems to improve with the new cameras,” Averett said. “Some of the cameras that we have now, you may not be able to see a face very well. At different times of the day, it can be difficult to see the details.

The most serious crimes seen on campus are hit and run and stolen goods, such as bicycles, so installing or upgrading cameras in areas where there is a high volume of such crimes is a problem. priority.

According to daily crime log, which reports crimes that have taken place in the past 60 days, most hit and run occurs in the Whalen Parking Complex and West Stadium Parking Complex, with four cases already reported in the past month.

Stolen property, or petty theft, has been reported 33 times since July 26, 2021. Most of those occurring near residences, such as Sierra Hall and Nye Hall, and some occur on the south side of campus where cameras are reportedly reported. the most obsolete.

“The idea is to find something that can fit behind and use the existing cameras,” James said. “This is how we will reduce costs. It all depends on where we need cameras and what we need them for. “

James is adamant not to involve the students in the funding of these cameras. Instead, the UNRPD is asking certain divisions to donate money to the cause.

Averett said the average cost to replace all camera and system hardware would cost around $ 1.4 million in total, but it would come with a ten-year warranty. He added that he thought the investment was worth it for campus security.

Although the students have no involvement in the funding, James hopes to create a student subcommittee to voice their concerns and determine what is best for cameras and software for the campus.

“We are seeing a good positive response because I think they see the need for it as well,” said James.

The project is expected to last around 18 months, and students will be able to see the effects of this update in 2023.

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